We have developed three GC-units (each spanning 20 hours of instructional time) with high inter-unit coherence that spread across the 7th grade curriculum. This addresses a central obstacle to GC-aligned instruction, the availability of high-quality GC-units that can be coherently sequenced and used across different localities, allowing for future scalability. Professional learning opportunities are being developed; participating teachers will learn about and experience GC-aligned instruction, addressing a second obstacle to GC teaching. Finally, the units will be enacted in both US and Israeli middle schools so as to allow us to investigate the possibilities provided by GC-aligned instruction when a third obstacle to GC-aligned instruction, implementation constraints driven by concerns associated with standardized testing, is removed.
Our team, including master teachers, developed three GC-units
in Year 1. This process involved multiple rounds of review and feedback from teachers and advisory board members to inform selection of engaging phenomena and models, quality and feasibility of the materials, and scientific accuracy.
In Year 2, we will conduct a pilot study of the GC units with four teachers, two in the US and two in Israel. This pilot study will focus on feasibility of unit implementation, levels of student engagement, and opportunities for unit improvements. Given the contextual differences between US and Israel, we will use a comparative lens to identify key factors for successful implementation of all materials in both contexts.
Pilot study results will be used as a basis for unit revisions.
In Year 2, we will also conduct a baseline study with 20 teachers, 10 from the US and 10 from Israel, who will continue teaching in their traditional manner using their existing curriculum (business-as-usual; BAU). The baseline study will focus on assessing students’ affective outcomes associated with BAU science instruction. A field test will be initiated in Year 3 to measure the promise of the units in promoting student outcomes by studying the classes of the same 20 teachers, except that now they will participate in professional learning opportunities and enact the GC units. In Year 4, we will repeat the field test with the same 20 teachers.
This will provide information regarding how student learning,
unit feasibility and implementation improve as teachers
become more experienced enacting the units.
By the end of the project, we will have a refined framework for GC-oriented instruction; three fully developed and tested GC-units with assessments; and research on student outcomes, feasibility and promise of the intervention.